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Wingstop Opens First U.S. Ghost Kitchen In Dallas

Restaurant chain Wingstop is spreading its wings beyond the traditional restaurant dine-in experience with the opening of its first U.S. ghost kitchen. 

Wingstop
Wingstop

The 400 SF facility in Dallas serves as the chain's hub for the preparation and delivery of to-go orders. The chain has one other ghost kitchen, a UK location it opened in Q4 2019.

Wingstop is gearing up to go 100% digital in all of its transactions in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown, which caused the restaurant brand to close all of its locations and focus solely on delivery services for a period of time. Digital transactions can include delivery or online order and pickup.

Deliveries have become a hot commodity for Wingstop, with the brand noticing a 33.4% increase in same-store sales during April as digital sales rose 65%. Delivery services accounted for about 30% of all those sales, the chain said.  

“We have a goal to digitize 100% of transactions as we drive to become a top 10 global restaurant brand and we believe ghost kitchens are a great step for the brand as delivery and digital sales continue to increase,” Wingstop Chairman and CEO Charlie Morrison said in a statement. “The team leveraged their entrepreneurial spirit to move quickly and launch Wingstop’s first domestic ghost kitchen.”

Ghost kitchens allow restaurant chains to create small culinary hubs in key delivery markets for food preparation without the hassles of operating full-scale restaurants. Also known as shadow kitchens or dark kitchens, they emerged in recent years as the next big trend in food services, with customers ordering more product online and expecting quick deliveries rather than in-restaurant dining experiences.

SBE CEO Sam Nazarian, who oversees major nightlife and culinary brands, launched an SBE subsidiary known as C3 to focus on ghost kitchen and mobile delivery platforms. Nazarian said previously he intends to open at least 140 locations by the end of this year and 250 by 2022 in partnership with Simon Properties and Accor

Dubai-based ghost kitchen operator Kitopi raised $60M in new funding this year to add 150 locations by the end of 2020. 

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick also jumped on the ghost kitchen craze by buying up properties in multiple countries to develop delivery-focused kitchens.

Wendy's and Chick-fil-A also began testing ghost kitchens in the past year.